Most motorcycle enthusiasts ride for the sheer pleasure of it – the open road, the powerful engine, the biker camaraderie.
During the Rally 2 Recovery, however, bikers ride for different reasons. This fundraiser is held to raise awareness of opioid abuse and raise funds for Learn to Cope, a nonprofit that offers outreach and support for New England families struggling with substance abuse.
Hogs With Heart
The one-hour ride takes participants through some of the towns in Worcester County hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. Since 2000, nearly 1,700 people have died from opioid use in Worcester County. In 2016 alone, 226 people died from opioid overdose.
Learn to Cope hopes to alter this trend. The organization provides access to support services, such as:
- Community education
- Advocacy information
- Peer recovery specialists
On average, 100 people per month attend Learn to Cope’s private online discussion forum and 600 members attend Learn to Cope meetings each week throughout the state of Massachusetts. Since its founding in 2004, Learn to Cope has grown to include over 10,000 members and become “a nationally recognized model for peer support and prevention programming.”
Their success is due in part to fundraisers like Rally 2 Recovery.
The Road to a Successful Rally
Organizers Peggy and Nick Murphy, Bruce Fiene, and Tracy Wheeler started Rally 2 Recovery to “give back to the organization that quite literally saved our children and families.” Their sons are currently in long-term recovery from heroin addiction.
This year’s August event was the second annual Rally 2 Recovery. (Last year’s ride raised nearly $60,000.) The rally included raffles, prizes, a drawing for a new motorcycle, live music, and speakers.
Scheduled speakers for this year’s event included the Learn to Cope founder, a poet, an addiction specialist, and a former New York Giants player. A local Worcester band performed, a set that included an original song about deaths of loved ones, “Ecstasy at the End of Days.”
With a combination of education and entertainment, the event is designed to create a significant impact. The fundraiser’s focus was year is three-fold:
- Provide resources and education to families
- Celebrate recovery
- Help end the stigma associated with substance abuse disorders
It might be a simple one-hour ride, but let’s be clear, the results go far beyond the odometer. The fundraiser brings much-needed funds to an area of the nation that’s really struggling with opioid addiction. Beyond that, the well-publicized event helps spread the word that help is available. Individuals and families don’t have to go through this on their own. Learn to Cope and other community resources offer life-changing support.
No one has to ride this road alone.
Additional Reading: This Fundraiser Platform Helps Pay for Addiction Treatment
Image Source: iStock